3D Prints Working Prototype
Here is a great example. This image is a 3D print of one side of an electric hand drill assembly casing, Printed on our Objet 3D printing system. For this model the customer chose a Vero rigid black material as this material possesses all the strength characteristics for the job.
Two sides were printed in total, along with two, patterned rubber over mould parts that sit into the handle for grip; the drill was then painted to represent the finished product. Engineers then assembled the drill with its entire prototype internals, including the electric motor, the two sides were then fixed together with screws. The finished prototype closely resembled the production model and worked just like it, very cool!
This is a great example of how 3D printing can work. In this example the benefits of using the 3D printing process are very obvious, the design team were able to test the drill to destruction, discover any faults within the body design and conduct user studies, they were also able to conduct assembly time studies all of this prior to mass production. Utilizing the 3D printing process in this way, quite literally saves tens of thousands of pounds when compared to comparative methods of prototyping. Turnaround times are increase considerably.
3D printing this product quite literally saved at the very least ten to fifteen weeks in time when compared to other methods. This part was produced for our client in just one day and express delivered for next morning delivery, when you think about it this is faster than Amazon and they pull product of the shelf!
3D Printing Rapid Prototyping
3D printing really is a breath of fresh air when designing product for mass production, we appreciate the fact that computer aided design takes a lot of the worry out of prototyping with its accuracy and is ability to run clash detection and stress analysis, but when compared to holding the actual product in your hand and being able to test it, nothing comes close! It takes a very brave man/woman to go straight to plastic injection tooling with a tool like 3D printing available.